Fraser North Farmers Market Society – formerly Haney Farmers Market Society – was gearing up for another season in Memorial Peace Park when the COVID-19 pandemic halted its usual market operations.
Melissa Maltais, executive director for the society, said the safety of clients and vendors was a responsibility that needed to be taken very seriously.
“All of a sudden we were faced with being in the position to make certain that the virus wouldn’t spread to our customers, staff and vendors,” Maltais said.
Knowing that the farmers already had crops in the ground and the goods would need somewhere to go, Maltais and the board decided to redo the market model by operating an online store and food distribution hub.
Customers can order farmers market products via the online store at Farmersandmore.org from Wednesday at noon to Friday at noon and pick up their goods at Golden Meadows Honey Farm (19950 Old Dewdney Trunk Rd) in Pitt Meadows on Saturdays.
“This new concept provided us with a way to keep everyone safe as best as we know how” says Maltais. “The farmers use safety precautions to harvest and drop off the produce, our staff wear masks and gloves to pick and pack your orders and then customers drive in to pick up.”
In fact, the staff even use a restaurant wait list app to allow customers to stay safely in their vehicles until their order is ready to pick up at the customer pick up table.
Market staff continue to check safety guidelines and the BC CDC websites to make sure they are conforming to safety standards.
When the Province begins to lift restrictions in the future, the board and market staff said they will be reviewing how to manage market operations in the park.
“We’re hoping to provide customers with several delivery points should the restrictions stay in place for a long period of time. We are looking at working with community groups to make sure that we can serve of all our residents in the community” says Maltais.
“Thankfully the City of Maple Ridge, City of Pitt Meadows and our partners at Golden Meadows Honey Farm have been hugely supportive of our new model,” she added.
The food hub model operates every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Golden Meadows Honey Farm in Pitt Meadows.
Pre-orders can be placed via the website at Farmersandmore.org.
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